Miami Beach spring spreak
A large crowd of people participate in a party on a walkway near the beach, during spring break in Miami Beach, Florida, USA, 20 March 2021. (CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Spring Break Crisis Underway in Miami Beach, Government and Public Health Officials Warn

Despite public health guidelines and city ordinances warning against gathering in large groups due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of young people have gathered in Miami Beach for spring break—celebrations that many experts fear could become another superspreader event and have deadly consequences.

With crowds of visitors exceeding anything seen in the area in nearly a year and a half, Miami Beach officials have been forced to declare a state of emergency in the city — and the situation doesn’t appear to be getting better despite an increase in city restrictions and increased police presence. Patricia Mazzei and Christina Morales of The New York Times have reported that “many young people violated a new 8 p.m. curfew in Miami Beach, which took effect in the city’s South Beach entertainment district. Videos on social media from Friday night [March 19] showed hundreds of people gathered outside after dark and law enforcement dispersing crowds.”

The new restrictions and the earlier city curfew had been issued due to the fear of growing crowds in the city and the threat of a possible coronavirus resurgence officials warn they could trigger.

Describing the scene over the weekend, interim city manager Raul J. Aguila said “It looked like a rock concert. You couldn’t see pavement, and you couldn’t see grass.”

“Florida reopened months before the rest of the country, long before the recent wave of states like Texas that have lifted all or most lockdown restrictions and mask mandates,” Mazzei and Morales reported.

“Miami-Dade County has recently endured one of the nation’s worst outbreaks, and more than 32,000 Floridians have died from the virus, an unthinkable cost that the state’s leaders rarely acknowledge,” they reported. “The state is also thought to have the highest concentration of B.1.1.7, the more contagious and possibly more lethal virus variant first identified in Britain.”

“Miami Beach Police fired pepper balls into crowds of partiers and arrested at least a dozen people late Saturday as the city took extraordinary measures to crack down on spring breakers who officials have said are out of control,” CNN’s Melissa Alonso and Theresa Waldrop reported.

“Too many are coming, really, without the intention of following the rules, and the result has been a level of chaos and disorder that is just something more than we can endure,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told CNN, adding that the crowds in the city are simply “more than we can handle.”

Over the weekend, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert said he was alarmed and felt that Americans were getting too comfortable. Even though the pace of vaccinations continues to increase, data pointed to a recent plateau in infections, suggesting another surge in infections similar to the one we experienced last summer could be on the way.

“History has shown us that when you have that plateauing, that’s usually the forerunner of another surge — we’ve actually seen that in the European Union,” Dr. Fauci warned in an interview on the Today show, pointing to the recent surge in Europe that has caused numerous countries to reimpose national lockdown restrictions.

“I’m really concerned if we declare victory prematurely that that’s the same thing that’s going to happen [in the U.S.],” Dr. Fauci said, referencing the current situation in Europe. “If we can just hang on a bit longer, the more people get vaccinated, the less of a likelihood that there is going to be a surge.”

“In Miami Beach, law enforcement officials said large crowds had been drawn to the city because they were looking for a place with fewer virus restrictions,” Mazzei and Morales reported. “Hotel rooms and flights have been deeply discounted, to make up for the months of lost time.”

The current Miami Beach state of emergency could continue for several days until crowds begin to lessen and partiers start to make their way back home.

In addition to ongoing crowd management difficulties, the Miami Beach police have reported more than 50 arrests plus the confiscation of at least 8 firearms over the past few days alone.

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

Latest News

Novartis Chief Medical Officer John Tsai on Balancing Medical Innovations With Patient Needs

Originally published at novartis.com by Elizabeth Dougherty. John Tsai is Novartis’ Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer. Novartis Pharmaceuticals is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   John Tsai’s career as a physician, and now as Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer for Novartis, had an unlikely…

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed

City of Montgomery, Alabama Faces $25,000 State Fine for Changing Street Named After a Confederate Leader

Despite a state law designed to “protect” longstanding Confederate monuments and memorials, the city of Montgomery, Alabama, has decided that it would rather incur a fine than continue going on with a city street named after President of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865, Jefferson Davis. Kim Chandler of…

Global Diversity

Despite Massive Uptick in Global DEI Initiatives, New Study Reveals Real Change in Corporate Workforces Remains Slow 

Even though DEI as a business imperative continues to grow both in the United States and around the world, a new study has found that many business leaders and executives have merely raised awareness of why diversity, equity and inclusion is important — as opposed to actually making meaningful progress…

Novartis Collaborates With Microsoft To Innovate Medicine Through Data and Artificial Intelligence

Originally published on LinkedIn. Novartis Pharmaceuticals is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   “We are not just discoverers. We actually create molecules that have never been made before.” Says Karin Briner, Head of Global Discovery Chemistry at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). By collaborating with Microsoft and augmenting the expertise of our…

Mastercard Announces Launch of Crescent City Card Program in Partnership With New Orleans and MoCaFi

Originally published at mastercard.com. Mastercard ranked No. 5 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was joined by executives from Mastercard, Mobility Capital Finance, Inc. (MoCaFi), and Forward Together New Orleans to announce the Crescent City Card Program. The program involves a…